Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, was the port of call for the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday in its ongoing campaign to woo the Group of Seven (G7) governor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The atmosphere was electric as the APC and PDP leadership spoke on the occasion.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
Ladies and gentlemen, the leaders of APC have decided to make the difference in the governance of this country. We are here physically to support your leader, Governor Rotimi Amaechi. A lot has been said about his leadership and we are here to assess the remarkable improvement he has given to the state. You people are a great asset to this country and whichever way you try to look at it, the people of this state can definitely not be ignored. We have decided to come together to make sure we rescue this country from misrule. God has blessed this country in terms of material and human capacity.
We must create the capability for the people to organise themselves in productive ventures and make impact in the development of the country. Take a look at the length and breadth of the country, from Maiduguri to Kano, from Sokoto to Cross River, from Katsina to Port Harcourt with over 170 million people, you will agree that this country has the human and material capacity. We must come together and get this country moving again. We have the capacity and the people. Let us give the people the opportunity to get the country back. My hope rose today when the governor showed us his education programme. Education is the best legacy anybody can bequeath to any society. Education will help the people to look after themselves, their country and after the people. Ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate the governor for this noble step taken to liberate the people from ignorance and want. I have so much respect for the governor. We can as well see his effort in other sectors of the economy. Ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you that there will be hope for our children and ourselves come 2015. I thank you very much for this honour done us. We are really overwhelmed by your warm reception, today is really a great moment for us and we appreciate how you have come out to show your love.
Senator Magnus Abe
We have said that Rivers State will not allow impunity and everything that will make it governable will be supported. And we will be free at last. Is that not what you said? So, when I say true Rivers, say true freedom. So, on behalf of myself and our esteemed members we shall overcome. In the Senate we respect numbers. The higher the number let me say the better the political stand point and success.
We have said before that Hon. Rotimi Amaechi who has been found worthy by the majority of his colleagues, to be elected as chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum deserves the office. We want to say that in all your discussions and consultations that you have been holding across the country, you are carrying your people along which formed our assessment of you as democrats.
That is why Rivers people are here because they understand what you are fighting for. They understand that you were elected to protect the interest of Rivers State people and that you will not compromise the interest under any guise.
So, you have our support and we are saying it today. I will use this opportunity to send two words out, which are about discipline in political parties. Today, we see all forms of undemocratic stance put in place by political parties to go after members who have different views which do not align with their positions. What I want to say to our political parties is that any party that is serious about discipline must first start by being a disciplined organisation.
A disciplined organisation must respect its own rules. You must play by your own rules. You must accept the fact that your members are in a democratic setting and have the right to hold different views. Their views must be listened to and taken into account. You must respect the wishes of the majority; any political party that will not accept the wishes of the majority does not respect itself. It does not deserve the respect of its members.
Assembly Speaker Otelemaba Amachree
I will like everybody here to stand up and let us observe a minute silence for our departed colleague, the former Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry. I believe that you have come to visit us for obvious patriotic reasons. Though you have seen but you have not conquered because we are still consulting. I want to assure you that by the time you come back next time this crowd will be twice than this. And that shows that the man they are talking about is not a push over, we don’t want to pour encomiums on him because we all know him. What we want to say is that you should be rest assured that wherever he goes, we will go. We want to assure our governor who is a family member of the Rivers State House of Assembly and so we cannot abandon our own.
But what we are saying is that he should quickly hurry up because this romance with the APC is getting too long. We now want marriage. He has been having nocturnal meetings with you, I must say we are sick and tired of these nocturnal meetings. In fact, what the people are now saying is marriage. Your Excellency, and of course, you know that when a bill is presented for assent and the governor fails to sign it, what happens? The House will veto it. So, we are waiting for you because we know that you will speak our mind and we are all behind you.
Andrew Uchendu of the House of Reps
The visiting leadership of the APC, please permit me the privilege to recognise my own friend and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari. Our purpose of being here is to have a feeling of the strong view the APC holds on good governance. I must say we have heard it all, but I will like to add one or two things. My colleagues and I have consulted at the House of Representatives. We have given our mandate to the Governor of Rivers State, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.
He is one man we respect and we know he has the capacity to discuss on behalf of the people. I want to tell you that we will not depart from where you stand. Now, let’s look at the composition of the people behind you from our state. For instance, of the three senators from this state, we have two backing him. And of the 13 members of the House of Representatives from Rivers State, we have 10 solid people backing him; of a 32-member House of Assembly, we have 27 backing him. Again, of the 23 local government chairmen, we have all of them backing him. And you can see what we will be going to the negotiation table with. And of course, it is our wish that the value the people place on him will be much higher in due course. We have discussed with our G7 governors and that our party the PDP needs reformation. That the PDP allowed impunity to reign in the land which we are totally against, we will be looking at your capacity to get things done better and your submission to the rule of law will inform how we will deal with APC.
If these things are lacking we will find it difficult to take that final decision. And so, while we are discussing take this serious because they are going to form our own assessment from your disposition to the rule of law.
ALGON chairman Chimbiko Akarolo
We want to say that as people representing the grassroots in this state and with the belief that for this country to grow, something must give way. We must move from this path of cluelessness, visionlessness, hopelessness and undemocratic culture. We must move to the path of patriotism and we believe that our governor’s commitment to the growth of democracy is in the right direction. It is where our governor goes that we will go. As you are aware, a whole lot has been said in the print and electronic media. But what you are seeing here today is just a tip of the ice berg. When it is time, we will tell you that the true Rivers people are with our governor. All that you hear in the print and electronic media are just political scheming. As a people, we are well mobilised and sensitised. The Rivers people are with our governor and on behalf of the ordinary Rivers State people whose lives the governor has transformed we stand by him. He has given us education, healthcare and we know he will always stand by his words. He is going to work for us. Nobody is going to deceive us; I say on behalf of ALGON, the ordinary people of Rivers State, we say that whereever our governor goes we shall go with him. We have never had any reason to doubt his capacity to deliver. We believe in his courage, we believe in his vision, we believe that he will not take us to where we will regret. Wherever he leads us, that is where we will go.